Overdoses went through the roof after Oregon voted to decriminalize all drugs

When it comes to the failures of unfettered liberalism, there are no better examples than the three states that comprise the west coast of the United States and while California truly stands on its own, its neighbor to the north continues to excel when it comes to racking up dubious distinctions, the latest being an explosion in overdoses after Oregon moved to decriminalize all illegal drugs.

In 2020, voters approved the first-in-the-nation initiative to decriminalize all drugs including such dangerous substances as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and magic mushrooms, treating the possession of the intoxicants as a civil instead of a criminal matter while encouraging those who were caught in possession to seek medical help.

Measure 110, otherwise known as the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote in November 2020 and went into effect in February 2021, after being backed by the nonprofit New York City-based advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, which received partial funding from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

Under the pioneering program, a person possessing drugs was given a citation – similar to a traffic ticket – with the paltry maximum fine of $100 being waived if they contacted a health assessment hotline.

(Video: YouTube/KGW News Portland)

However, just over a year later, the measure’s critics who predicted that decriminalization would be a disaster have sadly been proven right, with addictions reported to be up as much as 700 percent in some areas.

Officials are now admitting that they underestimated the difficulty in implementing Measure 110.

“The ballot measure redirected millions of dollars in tax revenue from the state’s legal marijuana industry to treatment. But applications for funding stacked up after state officials underestimated the work required to vet them and get the money out the door, officials testified Thursday before the House Interim Committee on Behavioral Health. Only a tiny fraction of the available funds has been sent,” according to a report by the Associated Press.

“So clearly, if we were to do it over again, I would have asked for many more staff much quicker in the process,” Oregon state Behavioral Health Director Steve Allen said. “We were just under-resourced to be able to support this effort, underestimated the work that was involved in supporting something that looked like this and partly we didn’t fully understand it until we were in the middle of it.”

“Allen, who works for the Oregon Health Authority, told lawmakers in the remote hearing that this $300 million project has never been done before. He insisted it has strong potential, saying officials have ‘over-relied on traditional treatment,’” AP reported.  “’The service array, the types of services that are included, the approach, the harm reduction, etc., are all designed by people who have experienced this and have, I think, some really interesting, good ideas about what these service systems ought to look like,’ he said. ‘So it’s an experiment. I think we’ll know more in a few years.’”

One Republican state lawmaker, Lily Morgan who represents Grants Pass in the southwestern part of the state told Allen, “Director, you’ve mentioned a couple of times that you’re waiting to see, and yet we have overdoses increasing at drastic rates, in my community a 700% increase in overdoses and a 120% increase in deaths,” she said. “How long do we wait before we have an impact that we’re saving lives?”

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, whose mother was addicted to drugs but recovered, also appeared before the House Interim Committee on Behavioral Health, expressing dismay that despite the decriminalizing of drugs, addiction has become a bigger problem.

“When the voters of Oregon passed Measure 110, we did so because it was a change of policy in Oregon to improve the lives of people, to improve our communities,” Fagan said, according to AP. “And in the years since, we haven’t seen that play out. … Instead, in many communities in Oregon, we’ve seen the problem with drug addiction get worse.”

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17 thoughts on “Overdoses went through the roof after Oregon voted to decriminalize all drugs

  1.  it was a change of policy in Oregon to improve the lives of people, to improve our communities.” That is a special kind of stupid right there!! Make drugs plentiful and easily available and you too can expect a safer more vibrant community. Really?

  2. This is Oregon… home of Portland… antifa…blm…commies…leftists… radical LGBTQIA’s groomers…etc. I’m not sure a 700 percent increase in od’s is a bad thing.

  3. To decriminalize these illicit drugs is totally stupid. What do you think you’re going to get. We need to get people off these drugs, not make it OK to take them.

  4. Good! Let the junkies who suck good taxation into oblivion leaving little resources for hardworking americans check themselves out..
    P.S. Can we throw in 100,000 alcoholics?😎

  5. The left never thinks once step past their silly feel-good programs. What did they expect?

  6. There is a HUGE difference between decriminalizing all drugs vs decriminalizing possession of drugs for personal use. Illegal drug manufacture and sales are still crimes. Even during alcohol prohibition in this country, people who were caught with a bottle in their pocket were not prosecuted. How much personal freedom is too much for you??

    1. Well, that closing question right there was an awful one. As someone who’s open to changing his mind on drug policy, where I stand right now on what you asked is: these kinds of drugs take away people’s personal freedom. And that’s one reason I’ve tended to oppose them. (Another being, what I’ve found on the issue implies that they can’t be used “in moderation”. But I may be wrong about that last thing; feel free to correct me.)
      So saying, while I understand your opening distinction, it seems to bring no material differences along here. I think the problem is a heightened demand for those drugs, now that they aren’t illegal to own and use. The unscrupulous, as always, came along and decided to cash in on it. So, what do you think should be done in those states? Do you want to have official, state-issued licenses for manufacture and use, like today’s alcohol license?

    2. How much personal freedom is too much for you??” When that “personal freedom” costs taxpayers untold $$ MILLIONS/BILLIONS, it’s too much for me. When strained medical resources are expended upon those who “never get better”, simply direct those resources towards those who actually contribute to the society we all envision being a part of. I don’t care if someone works a legit job making $7.25 per hour, the deserve basic medical coverage at the very least. As for those who CHOSE to live lifestyles detrimental to their health deserve nothing beyond what they can afford or otherwise raise on their own.

  7. We have a drug problem so let’s make all drugs legal,what could possibly go wrong,,,let’s make people and communities SAFER by having wacked out drug addicts running the streets,,,what could possibly go wrong,,,,,,,FJB,,,,,,

  8. What did they expect to happen? All of a sudden they will not abuse drugs if they are free to use them at will. These policy makers are some kind of stupid!

    1. Right 100%, but hey let’s try free liquor to combat alcohol addiction! These beautiful people ARE some kind of stupid!

  9. Frankly , I don’t care . Lock ’em up if they break the law , but let Darwin have free range .

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